Taking the Local Way to Lipe.....

Trip Start Dec 26, 2011
Trip End Feb 08, 2012

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Where I stayed
lipe beach resort

Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, January 22, 2012

After a couple of quiet days on Koh Jum, we were off to our next destination, the Beautiful Island of Koh Lipe. Transportation, especially ferries in Thailand tend to be a little on the pricey side at times, since sometimes they are the only means of transportation to your island of choice. Usually with only one company marketing on this monopoly, you want to go, you pay the asking price. But Michael and I have become the thrifty conscience travelers, and we were seeking out a cheaper and of course more adventurous way to get to our island.

So our options were, pay 1500 baht to connect to two different ferries and an equivalent of about 7 hours of sitting on a ferry, or try the local way, take a long tail boat with the locals back to land, then a few bus connections, and finally a ferry to lipe tagged on the end. Sounds a little complicated? Well, it kind of was, but when you have company along to embark on such an adventure, it's always better.

We started with the long tail boat to shore, and along with some friendly villagers, and a motorbike strapped to the front of the boat, we were pretty much winging it after we arrived. Riding in the back of a local taxi truck, we were dumped off in front of storefront in the next town, and that would be where we catch the next arriving bus taking us to the next "big" city, Trang. You never know what kind of bus you will be riding on when traveling in such style in Thailand. Sometimes it can be a “VIP” bus, sometimes a local bus with no doors and open windows and luckily a few rotating fans to keep you cool, or what we got a very old, double Decker bus that was standing room only. Our bus probably sat 32 people, but there were at least 50 or more people crammed on this bus. It pulls up; you get on, and find a place to stand or a floor to sit on. Michael being a rather tall person, in a very short people designed society found a seat on the staircase, and myself sitting on the floor of the top step. We rode this way for about two hours,,,, think of all the money we are saving! Lol…..

We met a really cool couple, Peter and Janet that were from Connecticut , and living part year on a small island off of Koh Jum, called Koh Siboya, They were heading down our way as well, and were also taking the local way! So we weren’t the only ones with this idea, so we had company along our way. We were all dropped off at a restaurant, and had to slump our way in about 95 degree heat to the bus station. There is no logical reason why we cannot be dropped off at the bus stop; it’s just the way it is. We were then to realize that the bus was running late, and there would be no way we could make it to our next town of Pak Bara to catch the last ferry to Lipe…..ahhh, we tried. So to make the best of it, Michael killed some time and got his little taste of the first civilization in almost two months, he walked over to a shopping mall across the street and came back with a big smile on his face and a couple of really good cheeseburgers for us for lunch. It’s amazing how exciting a little taste or reality can feel like when you’ve been denied for while. He also commented how for the first time how grungy he felt being back in society after backpacking for the last couple of months, and felt a little out of place in his shorts and flip-flops.  People were wearing real clothes! And were clean! He even found some sushi at the mall, something we haven’t seen here in Thailand, but they didn’t have it to go!

Our next bus was a little more comfortable, we only had to stand for about 20 minutes before the crowd slowly reached their stops and a couple of seats were available. The buses here in Thailand stop every so often to pick up, and drop off locals. It doesn’t matter what sort of fancy bus you are on, transportation here takes a while. So it’s important to have patience and a great sense of humor about it all.

We arrived in Pak Bara in the evening, and were informed that we were lucky to get a room in the two hotel town since it was the start of Chinese New Year. Our 550 baht a night hotel included a much needed hot shower, which we haven’t seen in a while. Dinner was fantastic, and the shrimp were so good, that we ordered three dishes! The next morning were off to Koh LIpe,,,Maureen will forever be envious of my opportunity to visit this ever changing island and its turquoise blue water and white sand beaches. I first visited this island five years ago with my friend Maureen, and its popularity is growing along with the resorts and visitors. Great things sometimes do come to an end, but its okay to share them with others once in a while!

By the way, our total cost came to around 900 baht, so Michael and I saved about 600 doing it the local way!  
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Sarah on

You take such amazing pictures! It looks so pretty there! It seems well worth the long journey! P.S. I have a feeling I know what you want when you get home…sushi? :) Miss you!

maureen mason on

Karma Beach!!!! I love you I miss you You are as beautiful as ever

elizacass on

I miss you too sarah! glad you like all the pictures! Sushi for sure when i get home! its amazing how much fresh fish here, and no sushi!

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